Public art to recognise local figure

As part of our commitment to design and creative innovation, Alumno are planning to commission two special artworks at the entrance of the building in celebration of the City’s history and to bring together two fascinating stories.

William Darby, who in the 19th century went by the stage name Pablo Fanque, was born in Norwich and lived near to the All Saints Green site.  A skilled tightrope walker and trapeze artist he cemented his place in history in the 1840’s when he became Britain’s first black circus proprietor, and is commemorated already by a blue plaque installed on the John Lewis building.

The second story involves The Beatles, in particular John Lennon who was inspired by a poster of Fanque and went on to mention the performer in the Beatles song ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’ on the 1967 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.  The public art project aims to celebrate this with an acrobatic sculpture and poetry telling this fantastic narrative at the entrance of the new Quad building.

 The public art proposals include 2 main elements:

  1. A tall (but minimal) free standing sculptural of a circus acrobat by the main entrance
  2. A feature ‘poetry’ wall – potentially running from the building atrium out into the public realm

Artists would be selected from a shortlist of 3 invited sculptors who would be funded to make proposals and an exhibition will present the ideas to the public.

A local writer will be engaged to develop the content for the poetry wall which could include graphic design relating to circus and the areas history of travelling circus and the enduring tradition of Heavy Horse parades.

The idea has garnered attention from Dan Grimmer at the Eastern Daily Press, full article can be found here:



Planning application submitted

Having continued our discussions with Norwich City Council and representatives of the community, we submitted a planning application for our proposals earlier this month. You can find all the technical documents on the council website.

Since announcing the project, our team has been working hard to develop the details of the proposals. If approved, the project will create a total of 244 new student bedrooms, new business space, which could be suited to a variety of different companies, and a high-quality new building which we believe will create a positive addition to the life and vibrancy of Norwich city centre.

In particular, our team has developed a new landscaping plan with water features, creating a vibrant courtyard for residents of the development. New pictures of this, and computer generated images of the site itself, are copied below.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

courtyard view 1a

Landscaped courtyard

courtyard view 2a

View from entrance to courtyard


View from John Lewis looking south

3D Render_South Gable Option

View from All Saints Green looking north


News update 13 April 2016

News update, 13th April

Following the launch of our website and announcing proposals for the former Mecca Bingo site, our team has been developing the detail of plans, meeting with local organisations and council officers.
We want to build a scheme with a high quality, modern building which will positively contribute to the city centre and vibrancy of All Saints Green. As part of this process, out architects, Carson & Partners, have been refining the details of the new building, and we have developed our ideas for new plants and landscaping.

We have appreciated the feedback received so far, and hope to submit a planning application shortly. Further information and updates will be posted on this website.

By removing some internal structures, we have been able to increase the number of rooms in the scheme to around 240, without changing the size of the building